stone town

Things To Do in Zanzibar Tanzania

The Zanzibar archipelago consists of a group of islands with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Although Zanzibar is part of Tanzania, the it remains more independent with residents preferring to consider themselves as Zanzibaris. Residents have their own elective leaders and governing structures. Islam is the dominant religion in the island and this is because the Arabs (under the Sultan of Oman ruled) ruled the island for centuries after conquering it from the Portuguese. The British later took over control of the Island from the Arabs. Foreign occupation and intermarriages influenced the architecture and cultural heritage of the island.  There is a heavy mix of African (Swahili) and Arabic culture. It is also important to note that because of the heavy Islamic influences, residents of the island are more conservative and down to earth than in mainland Tanzania

Things to do in Zanzibar and Tanzania.There are several places to visit and things to do while in Zanzibar. The Islands are an excellent hideout for tourists who desire a serene and quiet place to explore the Indian ocean and all that it has to offer. Zanzibar offers amazing beaches, a great nightlife, restaurants and many other fun activities. This article is very comprehensive and will cover most of the key attractions and things which make Zanzibar such and amazing place to visit. You can also read about the top attractions in Dar es Salaam and the Things to do in Mombasa if it is what you are looking for. We also have an amazing 3 Days Serengeti and Ngorongoro safari package that can be combined with visiting Zanzibar to make for a truly amazing experience in Africa.  We have a comprehensive article about the top attractions in Arusha and the things to do in Tanzania. You might also be interested in information about Mount Kilimanjaro or the cultural attractions in Tanzania.

Top attractions in Zanzibar and Stone Town

Visit Stone Town, its attractions and meet the local people: Stone town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the cultural Center of Zanzibar. The town is found in the main island of Unguja and gets its A Guide to Zanzibar Tanzania.name from the 19th century buildings whose architecture was influenced by European, Arabic, Indian and Swahili settlers. Because of its Arab and European background, Stone Town has a history that is well documented. Taking a tour of the town is a great opportunity to understand the history of the island’s inhabitants spanning different eras. The town is located at the very heart of Zanzibar and was once an important stopover for both general merchandise and slave traders moving to and from the mainland. Stone Town has is characterized by very narrow streets, bazaars, ancient architecture and several mosques.

The Key attractions in the town are the Anglican church cathedral, the ceremonial palace, the Kidichi Persian Baths for Sultan Said (unfortunately the pool, massage table and changing rooms have not been well maintained), the Dunga ruins, the Peace memorial museum and Makusurani graveyard for past Arab rulers.

The Mtoni Palace Ruins is also an excellent site worth visiting and is found north of the Town. Built in the 1800s, the Mtoni Palace was destroyed by a fire but its remains still attract a lot of visitors. You can also visit the former old slave market, the house of wonders (one of the six palaces of the sultan), check out other heritage sites and admire the overall architecture of the town.

Tourist Attractions in Stone TownThe Old Fort also known as Ngome Kongwe is an interesting 17th century building that was built by the Omani Arabs after expelling the Portuguese. It was later used to protect the town against enemies like the Mazrui Arabs in the 1700s. A local Guide can share with your information about its history and the critical role it played in protecting the town from potential enemies. Most of the hotels and lodges within stone town arrange day tours led by an experienced Guide. We will be discussing some of the key attractions in Stone town in more detail in the following chapters.

Amazing things to do in ZanzibarVisit the Local markets in Stone Town: While at Stone Town, you can visit the Darajani market and see how people make ends meet or go shopping for fruits, giant see fish, meat and vegetables. You can join in the fish auctioning where fish dealers put a price for the largest catch. Taking part in the fish auction is exciting as it allows you to mingle with the locals and get a chance to see rare and giant ocean creatures. If you have some spare change, you can take part in the auction. You could put on a price on one of the largest fish and donate it to the female fish dealers with less money. While at the market, you can order for fresh fish and have it fried or grilled to be served with potato chips.

Best things to do in ZanzibarApart from friend fish at Darajani market, you can also visit the night markets along the streets for roasted meat, French fries and local food. The food markets are open from late afternoon until late in the night.  These food markets are frequented by residents who are rushing back home after work or after have a drink or two. As you visit the markets in Stone town, you will notice that the local people are very friendly and down to earth. English is widely spoken and you can start conversations to ask them about life in the island. If you are interested in buying local souvenirs, jewels and clothes, then you should visit the boutique stores found in Changa Bazaar Street, Kenyatta Road and Ginzenga Street.

Activities to do in Zanzibar.Visit the Livingstone House: This building is also found in Stone Town Zanzibar. It was built by Sultan Sais Majis in 1860. It later served as the headquarters of explorers and missionaries who had come for specific missions in East Africa. One of the explorers was the famous Dr. David Livingstone. Livingstone stayed in the building before starting his expedition to the East African mainland. The British bought the house in 1947 but now houses government tourist offices.

Fun things to do in ZanzibarVisit Religious Establishments: Although Islam is the dominant religion in the island, Zanzibar also has residents who are Christian or Hindu. Stone Town has Hindu temples, Christian Cathedrals and several mosques. The Shakti Temple for example stands out for its unique architecture while the Malindi mosque is the oldest in the island with a rare but simple design. Christians can visit the Anglican Cathedral which was built in the 19th century. The cathedral is close to one of the largest slave markets in Stone town and is worth a visit.

The top things to do in ZanzibarPrison Island: Prison Island, also known as Changuu Island was left untouched until it was inhabited by the Arabs in the 1860’s. The island was used as a temporary shelter for slaves who were considered rebellious or with potential to lead revolts. The slaves were kept there before being sold abroad. The Island was also used to quarantine those who got sick during yellow fever epidemics. When Zanzibar became a British protectorate, the Island was bought from the Arabs and a real prison was built. The prison was never used on completion and has now been turned into a beautiful resort. In 1919, four giant Aldabra tortoises were introduced in the island as a gift from a British Governor in the Seychelles. By the 1950’s their Places you have to visit in Zanzibarnumbers had increased to the hundreds. Trafficking in later years reduced their numbers considerably but have recovered ever since the government built a large enclosure to keep them safe. Some of the Tortoises are believed to be over 100 years old. After spending time petting and touching the tortoises, you can go swimming on the beach and admire the amazing landscape and bird-life including the amazing peacock. To reach the island from Stone town, you will need to hire a boat and embark on a journey that takes 30 minutes.

Learn more about the Island’s slave History: If you are interested in learning about the islands role in the slave trade, you can hire a local Guide to take you to the old slave market, slave caves and Things to do and see in Zanzibar champs. The Mangapwani Slave Chambers is arguably a better place to go to if you want to learn about the horrors of slavery and the role of Zanzibar in the trade. Most of the slaves from the mainland and other parts of East African where brought to Zanzibar before being taken for forced labor in different parts of the world. The Mangapwani Slave Chambers are found 12 miles away from Stone Town. The Chambers were built underground and was used to hide slaves even after slavery was abolished. You can end your fact finding mission by going for a swim at the former slave port.

Visit the Beaches: As already mentioned earlier, Zanzibar has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Each island has unique beaches with interesting activities on offer. The beaches in the western part of Zanzibar provide some of the most beautiful sunsets while those in the south are known for having a high concentration of dolphins. Nungwi is arguably the best and most beautiful beach in Zanzibar. It’s white sands and beautiful turquoise waters will impress almost anyone who visits it. It has a variety of accommodation facilities, clubs, bars and restaurants and is where most of the island residents go to for the best parties and beach experience. The other popular beaches are Kendwa (known for its nightlife) and Paje on the eastern side of the coastline. All the beaches have beautiful white sands and waters which are excellent for swimming and diving. In order to visit all the beaches in a short time, it is important to choose a hotel that is strategically located to allow easy accessibility to the different islands. All beaches in Zanzibar are free to the public.

Things to see in Zanzibar.Visit the Seaweed Centre: The seaweed Centre is managed by a group of women in Zanzibar. The women have taken advantage of the abundant seaweed at the ocean shores to make products like smoothies, juices, organic soap and oils. During your visit to the Centre, you will meet the women and learn how they make their products. You will be offered an opportunity to taste a seaweed smoothie and find out how it is like. There are many ways in which you can support the women at the Zanzibar Seaweed Centre. The easiest way is to buy some of their products.

Go on a Sunset Dhow Cruise: Hire one of the dhows (wooden boats) and head to the ocean as you watch the town/Island disappear from the horizon. Most of the dhows ensure that there are enough Top Things to do in Zanzibar.supplies for the day including delicious snacks, sea food (grilled fish, lobsters, octopus and calamari) and drinks to keep everyone excited and happy. A Dhow cruise will allow you appreciate the sheer beauty of the Indian ocean, and usually starts from the main Island all the way to Kwale Island and Fishing villages like Fumba. Once you reach these islands or fishing villages, you can go ashore and explore the area or climb old baobab trees.  During the cruise, you may spot dolphins, swim along the beautiful green lagoons, fish or snorkel along the coral reefs and mangroves.

Quad Biking: There is no better way to experience all that is beautiful about Zanzibar than to take a Quad bike from one of the islands and into the interior. With a Quad bike, you can ride through the sugar cane and pineapple plantations, rice field, villages on the island, coconut plantations fruit and spice fields.

Snorkeling, windsurfing, Parasailing and Scuba Diving: There are several water sports that one can choose to take part in while in Zanzibar. The parasailing experience is one example of a fun sport Top things to see and do in zanzibar.that will take your breath away as you discover beautiful aerial views of the island and its other hidden spots. Parasailing can be done alone, with friends, as a family or with your hubby. Apart from parasailing, the clear waters and coral reefs provide excellent opportunities for Scuba diving and Snorkeling.  The best beaches for snorkeling in Zanzibar are Kendwa Beach, Matemwe Beach, Nakupenda Beach, Nungwi Beach and Paje Beach. The Pange Sandbank is arguably the best part of the ocean for snorkeling (especially for beginners). The waters at the Sandbank are calmer and shallower.

Tourism in ZanzibarThe best hotel to book for water sports is Mnemba Island Lodge. The lodge is built on a private island and has 10 luxury bandas. Mnemba Island Lodge arranges kayaking, windsurfing, snorkeling and two scuba dives each day. If you are planning to do scuba diving, then you need to be experienced and qualified. If not, then you will have to undergo training before they let you anywhere near the deep waters. The best dive spots may involve going further into the ocean with speed boats.

Visiting ZanzibarTake a dalla dala or boda (Scooter): Dalla dalas are cheap minibus taxes which operate within the islands. They have no specific stage and will stop whenever they see a potential passenger. Dala Dalas are identified by their destination name and unique registration numbers. They are always packed with passengers and willing to take in more. The local people can help you identify which one is going where. The advantage of using dala dalas as a means of transport is that it allows you to mingle with the island residents and have a truly unique experience. The dala dala drivers charge about $2 for long trips and even less for shorter stops.

What to see in Zanzibar?A more recently introduced means of transport is using the more convenient scooter or boda boda. These motor bikes do not follow any specific routes and can take you to almost any part of the island. Boda bodas or scooters are not the safest means of transport. Some of the riders have been known to work while under the influence of drugs/alcohol or without a license. Its therefore safer to always have your helmet on at all times. The most secure means of touring the island is to hire a special hire vehicle with a driver from your hotel or one of the local tour companies.

Tourist attractions in ZanzibarVisit the Cheetah’s Rock: For those who love wildlife and animals in general, this is a place you must go to while in Zanzibar. The facility has got Cheetahs, lions, zebras and many of Africa’s famous wildlife. The facility allows visitors to get a taste of what to expect while visiting Tanzania’s amazing wildlife reserves. While at the Centre, the Guide will share information about the animals as you interact and feed them. The facility opens on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday (between 2 and 6pm) and is located in a place called Kama.

Experience the Full Moon Party at Kendwa Rocks: The full moon party is a monthly beach party organized by resorts (mostly in the northern part like Kendwa) in Zanzibar. The Island of Kendwa has its fair share of beautiful, broad, shallow and sandy beaches with clear waters. The full moon party brings Zanzibar Tourist Attractions together tourists, locals and other revelers for a night of great fun and partying. Expect colorful fireworks, acrobatics, drumming, dance, noise, food and great partying. A main stage is set up on the beach as well as tables, chairs and mobile bars to be used by the revelers. If you happen to be part of the celebration expect to be entertained by some of the best local DJ’s, musicians, acrobats and fire-eaters. The full moon party was introduced all the way from Finland. The main difference is that it carried out in great tropical climate surrounded by the great Indian ocean. The Full Moon party is so popular that residents travel all the way from Dar es Salaam and other parts of Tanzania just to enjoy one night of fun.

Zanzibar Travel GuideVolunteer: For a traveler with a spirit of voluntarism, expect to get opportunities to contribute to development while in Zanzibar.  The beautiful high-end resorts sit next to local villages – some with appalling conditions. You can make a difference by helping in the cleaning up of the beaches or planting trees in areas with few or none. Volunteering to save the dolphins in Zanzibar is one great opportunity you don’t want to miss. Fishing and swimming with dolphins is not well regulated and has often endangered the lives of the mammals when done by careless individuals or companies. You can volunteer at GVI’s dolphin research program and perform tasks like organizing workshops to raise awareness about the need to protect the dolphins.

Apart from protecting the dolphins, you can also offer your expertise and English Knowledge at the Tamani Foundation or a similar organization of your choice. The mission of the Tamani foundation is to Things to do in zanzibar Tanzaniaimprove literacy at all levels of education (primary, secondary and adult). They teach computer skills to both children and adults. You can volunteer to teach computer skills or English beneficiaries of the foundation. There are other community based organizations open to volunteers and you need to contact them personally in advance especially if you are planning to volunteer for a longer period of time. All in all, volunteering helps you develop a deeper understanding of the problems faced by the local community while also giving you a chance to contribute to making a difference through activities like cleaning the beaches and planting trees.

Take Tea or visit one of the Coffee Shops: For the best tea, coffee and inter-continental food, you should consider visiting the luxury Tea House in Stone Town. Tea House is a rooftop restaurant. The facility is set up with comfortable chairs, tables and painted walls. Customer service and food is excellent because of the class of customers who visit it. Reservations need to be made in advance online or through a friend physically because it is a very popular place. Apart from tea and coffee, you can also order for espresso meringue dessert, massaman goat curry, crab cakes and saffron chillies.

Biking along the ocean shores and the Ngezi Forest in Pemba Island: One of the best ways to explore the different islands in Zanzibar and the city of stone town is to use a good mountain bike. Your Attractions in Zanzibarhotel should be able to provide a bike at a small fee. With a bike, you can explore the beaches, fishing and local villages. You can take stops to swim at one of the beaches or hope between islands. If you get tired of biking, you can simply stop a dalla dalla and jump in with your bike all the way back to your hotel. If you are considering island hopping with your bike, then you should go to Pemba. Pemba Island is one of the magical islands that make up the Zanzibar archipelago. One of its greatest attractions is the Ngezi Forest. The forest is home to the red ververt monkeys, flying foxes and an amazing birdlife. Biking though its major trails will reward you with beautiful views of the dense forest and wildlife.

Visit the Nungwi Masaai Village Market and local community: The Masai Market in Nungwi village is an excellent spot for buying local souvenirs, clothes and paintings. The street market offers an Attractions in Stone Town Zanzibaropportunity to meet the locals and strike friendly conversations about business and life in the island. While touring the village and market, you will observe their unique dressing styles, traditional homes, bazaars, schools and playgrounds to get an idea about the kind of life lived by the island dwellers. After visiting Nungwi Village, you could also check out the night food market for a taste of the local cuisines. These night markets crop up every evening as local chefs begin preparing roasted meat, pizza, samosas, sugar cane juice and sea food from the roadsides.

Have dinner at a top restaurant: The Rock restaurant in the island of Paje and is one of the best places to visit while in Zanzibar. CNN described it as one of the quirkiest restaurants in the world and for Activities in Zanzibara good reason.  The restaurant is built on a rock and designed to give the lucky clients a romantic feeling when with their partners. The restaurant serves tasty sea food and wine which can be consumed from the terraces while gazing at the Indian ocean. One other restaurant to consider while in Zanzibar is The Beach House Restaurant. This restaurant also offers amazing views of the ocean and serves clients delicious French, Italian and Mediterranean cuisines. Last but not least is 6 Degrees South. This eating facility is an excellent choice for those who want to go for a romantic dinner while enjoying amazing views of the ocean with a date.

Activities in Stone Town ZanzibarHangout at Jaws Corner: This is one of the favorite hangout joints for residents of Stone Town and tourists. It is built at the very center of Stone town and hence very accessible to residents. Jaws Corner is easily identified by a large shark painting on the wall.  The Jaws Corner is an excellent spot to catch up with the latest news while sampling tasty Arabica coffee. Most of the Island dweller gather here every evening to discuss politics, get the latest gossip or have small meeting as they take tea and coffee.

Spice Tours: Zanzibar was known as the spice island during the 19th Century. Clove farming in particular flourished in the island because of the fertile soils and tropical climate. Later on, ginger, vanilla, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg were introduced for large scale growth. Growing of What to do in Zanzibarspices is still very popular and lucrative in the island. It is possible for tourists to go and visit these plantations to learn about how spices are grown and the important role they play in the economy of Zanzibar. The Kizimbani Spice Farm is one of the most visited spice plantations in Zanzibar. This plantation is found in the island of Unguja. While visiting the farm, expect to taste and smell products from cinnamon, breadfruit, lime, coconut, cloves, nutmerg, black pepper, coriander, bananas, jack fruits, mangoes and black pepper. You can also learn how to cook local food using the species grown in the plantation. Regardless of which plantation you end up visiting, a Spice tour in Zanzibar is very educative and takes between two and three hours.

Try some of the local fruits and sea food: As you know by now, Zanzibar has a history of growing spices. However, the island is also blessed with several fruits farms including that of bananas, pineapples, mangoes, coconuts, vanilla and coffee. The popular sea food in the island may include seagull, octopus, grilled lobsters, crabs and squid. Sea food and fruits are sold in the open markets, restaurants, super markets and by street vendors. The most common local foods in Zanzibar are the Zanzibar pizza (more like a pancake mixed with chicken, beef, onion, mayo, eggs, pepper, cheese and onion), urojo soup, Mishkaki (meat kebab), Mandazi, pilau and Biryani.

Mrembo Spa: For the best Spa treatment while in Stone Town, you should visit Mrembo Spa. Mrembo Spa stands out from similar facilities along the town streets because of the quality of their services. While at Mrembo Spa, you can get the best massage, manicures and pedicures. Finding Mrembo Spa is quiet difficult when you take into consideration the narrow and congested streets of Stone town. Mrembo Spa is located along Cathedral street. Once you reach the facility, you will be met by a group of smiling ladies and an inviting fresh aroma.

Diving at the Atoll Marine Reserve: The Islands in Zanzibar offer some of the best diving spots along the East African coast. The Mnemba Atoll Marine Reserve offers some of the best diving sports on the island. Diving deep into the ocean allows one to explore the coral reefs and lagoons for a chance to discover rare sea creatures like turtles, emperor fish, sting rays, giant trevally fish, moral eels and lion fish. Several companies offer diving expeditions using boats at a coat. You can combine diving with fishing for tuna, dorado and bonito.

What to do in Stone Town Zanzibar.Swim with Humpback Dolphins: The best place to swim with dolphins is on the small fishing village of Kizimkazi. Dolphin tours are organized using boats/dhows. Tourists board the boats and go out into the ocean in search of the dolphins. The tours can be organized as a group or in private. Dolphin tours also offer opportunities to observe other sea creatures, large sea fish, prawns and lobsters. After swimming with the dolphins, guests are normally taken to a smaller island for a meal that may include fried prawns, calamari, pilau rice and tropical fruits. The dolphin tour starts at 10:00pm and ends by 5:00pm.

Tourist attractions in Stone Town ZanzibarKitesurfing and exploring the lagoons: The calm beaches, great weather and flat lagoons of Zanzibar allow for great Kitesurfing experiences. April, May and November have no strong winds hence offering the best Kite-surfing experiences. The best Kitesurfing spots are found on the Eastern part of Zanzibar. Apart from Kite surfing, some companies and resorts offer tourists and opportunity to explore the lagoons at the Chwaka Bay using small boats. The best method to explore and pass through the lagoons is by paddle boarding on small boats.

Swim with Turtles: The best Turtle Aquarium in Zanzibar is the Baraka National Aquarium. Most of the turtles are brought into the facility after being caught in fishing nets. Most come to the Centre when young or injured. They are taken care until they can be released back into the ocean. The Turtle Aquarium in Zanzibar offers visitors a chance to swim with turtles. Visitors are also allowed to visit and take photos of the totals.

Visit ZanzibarThe Kuza Cave: The Kuza Caves are one of the most interesting but rarely visited tourist attractions in Zanzibar. The caves are found in the village of Jambiani and are believed to be sacred by the communities living close to it. There is a small well within the caves which is said to have healing power. Some of the locals and individuals from mainland Tanzania visit the caves to swim in the well and hopefully get cured of their sicknesses. The scenery around the caves is spectacular and supports an amazing collection of birds. If birding is not your thing, you can instead go and see troops of monkeys enjoying the trees in the area.

Visit the Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park to see the rare Red Colobus Monkey and visit the Zanzibar Butterfly Project: This park covers an area of about 6,200 acres and is made up of mostly forest. Jozani forest was declared a national reserve in the 1960’s. The park offers a welcome What to see in Stone Town Zanzibar.break from beach life and stands out for its breathtaking scenery and biodiversity. Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park is home to the rare and endangered Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkey. This monkey is endemic to the island and only 2,500 individuals remain. Conserving them has generally been successful but the fact that they are only found in the island makes them very prone to extinction.

Apart from the primates, visitors should expect to spot duikers and several species of butterfly. The Zanzibar Butterfly Project is also found in the park. Tourists can go for a tour of the project facilities to learn about how local farmers benefit from breeding butterfly pupas till adulthood. Other activities in the park include birding (Over 50 species) and exploring the mangrove swamps using boardwalk. The entry fee is about $50 and includes an experienced Guide to take you around the forest.

Track the rare Zanzibar Bush Baby: Bush babies are small and shy nocturnal primates. The sub-species found in Zanzibar are unique to the island. Bush babies resemble possums but are generally cuter. Their cries and calls can be heard at night while resting in your room. The primates are widely spread in the island and can be seen even in hotel premises. If your lodge/hotel has resident individuals, you could spend time locating them without having to go to the wilderness. They love bananas and this is one way of luring them from their hideouts.

Learn Swahili and discover the local culture: Swahili is arguably the most widely spoken African language. In Zanzibar, 98 percent of the population speak fluent Swahili. In order to get along and mingle with the locals, you need to know a few important words. The basic ones to master are Jambo (Hello), Mambo (How are things?), tafadhali (please), Karibu Sana (You’re welcome), Nzuri Sana (Very Good) and Asante sana (thank you). Other important Swahili words include Hapana (no), Sawa (okay), Pole (slowly), Ndiyo (Yes), Hakuna matata (No worries) and Kesho (Tomorrow). If you can master a few of these major words during your time in the island, you will go a long way in earning the respect and smiles of the locals. Knowledge of Swahili could even help you get a few favors.

Attend Zanzibar festivals: As a multicultural Island, Zanzibar has got interesting cultural festivals that you may find interesting (Assuming they occur during your visit). Sauti za Busara is a popular music festival organized in Stone town every February of the year. The festival takes several days and features Activities in Zanzibar Tanzaniadozens of African musicians who are invited to entertain island revelers. The Zanzibar International Film Festival on the other hand is one of the largest cultural festivals in East Africa. It was started in 1997 and takes place for two weeks in July. During the two weeks, some of the best talents in the arts, music and film are recognized and given awards. The Zanzibar Beach and Water sports festival is arranged in the village of Jambiani every September of the year. The festival attracts all members of the community to take part or compete in all kinds of water sports. The Culture Musical Club in Zanzibar is opened throughout the year and organizes the best Swahili orchestras as well as Traditional Taarab music.

Things to Take into consideration when visiting Zanzibar

Zanzibar is made up of a several islands. Pemba and Unguja are the largest but there is also Mnemba, Chumbe, Mafia, Kendwa, Nungwi, Matemwe, Michamvi, Pongwe, Bwejuu, Paje and Jambiani. The capital is Stone Town in Unguja.

Before arriving in Zanzibar, you need to have a Tanzanian Visa. The easiest way to get a visa is on arrival at the airport. A yellow fever vaccination card is a must and will be asked at all entry points including the airport. To protect yourself and your belonging while visiting Zanzibar, we recommend that you get travel insurance before showing up.

Zanzibar has two seasons with rains. The longer rainy season lasts from March to May while the shorter rains come in November and December. You should think twice about visiting during the rainy months if your sole intention is to enjoy the beautiful beaches. The monsoon winds get stronger during the rainy period. You can still enjoy the island during the short rain season because the rain isn’t intense (It rains for short periods and rarely in all parts of the islands).

Zanzibar has excellent accommodation facilities. The hotels range from luxury to simple budget options. The luxury hotels are of high quality with amazing views of the ocean. Some of the hotel and lodges are so good that they may force you to postpone your departure date. Budget travelers and back packers will also find countless hotels offering quality self-contained rooms facing the beach at good rates.

Despite a history of invasions, wars and takeovers, the island is relatively safe. Tanzania is said to be the most peaceful country to visit in Africa. That said, it is important to remain cautious especially when moving with expensive electronic gadgets in crowded places. Avoid moving in the night and in places you are not familiar with. Most of the reported theft is said to be carried out by people who are not residents of the island. Pickpockets normally target tourists who are careless enough to leave their cameras, laptops or phones unattended to while swimming in the ocean.

Because of its Muslim history, Zanzibar is a relatively conservative island. The women and men love to dress in standard Muslim clothing with beautiful fabrics. Try to dress decently and avoid very revealing dresses when away from the beach or your lodge.

Most arrivals and departures to Zanzibar occur at Stone Town. One can arrive by boat, ferry or plane from Dar es Salaam. The planes are more expensive and but fast taking only 20 minutes from Dar es Salaam, while speed boats take about two hours. Although considered slow, the most thrilling experience is arriving by ferry from Dar es Salaam. The long journey will help you appreciate the sheer beauty of the Indian ocean.

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